They disrespect the people they claim to be defending

Every time. Every time these conservative defenders of all that is right and good try to explain what they’re trying to do, they end up smearing everyone involved. Remember the pious anti-feminists who tried to tell us that they are supporters of womanhood and femininity, so they have to accuse women of being sluts? Same thing now with the preachers of true manhood, like Josh Hawley.

I have to wonder who these men are that are so hurt and despairing that they have retreated into video games and porn? All you men out there who read this, and play games (OK, or watch porn, you don’t need to admit it): are you all just doing it because you’re oppressed and had your feelings hurt and don’t know what else to do while sitting around suffering with self-pity?

My exposure to multiplayer games is limited, but it does add to my appreciation of all those macho, aggressive players who called me a “fag” or “bitch” or used the chat to brag about their sexual conquests to imagine that they were all weeping and masturbating while they were doing it. Josh tells me that’s what they’re doing, and would he lie?


  1. Susan Montgomery says

    Don’t tell him about the legendary strategy and multiplayer games pioneer Dan Bunten…

  2. Who Cares says

    Funny I play games to relax. It is either that, read a book or annoyvisit/hang out with friends.
    As for online games, I tend to go more with PvE then PvP which makes gaming less insult prone except for idiots who demand that you fight them (and thus promptly get put on ignore).
    Then again if Hawley wasn’t this awful I could probably get him invited into a WoW guild (EU server) that is mainly compromised of married couples.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    I play games (tabletop RPGs and miniature games) because I like worlds of fantasy, horror, and wonder. I also love the crafting elements of the hobby, namely the modeling and painting.

    It’s what people used to call “a hobby,” Josh.

    I watch porn because I’m too much of a fat, ugly, mentally broken freak to attract a girlfriend. No one emasculated me, I rolled the genetic d20 and got a “1.” (Childhood bullying and abusive Christian conservative child-rearing also helpped dig out the bottomless pit where my self-esteem should be.) No need to blame feminism or a lack of hyper-machismo on my part.

  4. says

    I play games because I find them stimulating and challenging. Overcoming the challenges in a good game can be tremendously fun and gratifying. In fact, I attribute most of what I know about strategic thinking to gaming (gamer since 1976!) it’s a terrific mental sandbox for exploring ideas.

    Hawley doesn’t seem to realize that the military (which I am going to assume he pays the usual lip-service fellating republican homage to….) uses gaming a lot as a training tool. And a lot of those ruff tuff bois love to play fascism simulators in which you run around killing everyone who is not American or British. It’s an indoctrination tool he ought to be proud of, not criticizing. He should hold his manhood cheap that he probably can’t beat a 10 year-old at Call of Duty.

  5. William George says

    I do it to avoid meeting people like Josh Hawley. There are WAY too many of them here in Korea.

  6. says

    Who Cares@#3:
    Then again if Hawley wasn’t this awful I could probably get him invited into a WoW guild (EU server) that is mainly compromised of married couples.

    Word. Some of the best and most nurturing people I’ve met were in my old WoW guild. Gamer guilds are a reflection of the people attracted to that particular guild’s orientation.

    And I’m not going to brag on the Fuel Rats in Elite: Dangerous other than to say they’re a guild of hundreds who specialize in making other people’s gaming experience more positive. There is more goodwill and cooperative spirit in the Fuel Rats than in the entire republican party, but then the republican specialize in making other people’s lives suck so that’s no surprise.

  7. PaulBC says

    Let’s see. Video games have only existed for a few decades and that pretty well explains why “real men” weren’t playing video games back in the golden age of the 50s. Sources tell me they were drag racing cars, surfing, and sometimes striking a pose with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in their T shirt sleeve (you may doubt the veracity, but that’s all I got). More “manly” activities to be sure, but also requiring a good deal more cash and learning curve to get started (you don’t think it takes skill to keep that pack from falling out?).

    Maybe video games fill an actual desire that has nothing to do with masculinity, do so cost-effectively, and would have been popular in earlier times if available. (But Hawley went to Stanford and Yale, so what does a silly ninny like me know about these things.)

    Porn, well hey. It is a lot easier to obtain anonymously than it used to be. That strikes me as the most salient change.

  8. Artor says

    LOL! Like I would look to Josh Hawley for advice on masculinity? Dude is a scrawny pencil neck, and likely as not, is wearing his wife’s panties under that baggy suit.

  9. strangerinastrangeland says

    Sure, people can find confirmation and self-esteem through a hobby – MMORPGs, porn, sports, etc. – when they don’t get it otherwise through their environment and maybe even get lost in it too much. But saying that this is the result of criticizing somebodies masculinity…? I was wondering on which data basis the guy built his hypothesis?. Ok, just kidding, I know he pulled this stuff out of his posterior to fit a pre-made narrative.
    Other than that, also old-fashioned RPGamer here, playing online games as well and can only confirm the statements others made. Plenty of nice, helpful and well-adjusted people in the hobby (and some bad ones as everywhere else), and somehow I doubt that many players started playing because of self-pity and hurt masculinity.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Anyone willing to bet about how many women that have had an abortion paid for by Josh Hawley after being made pregnant by this man of god ?

  11. PaulBC says

    As a lifelong nerd in my mid-50s, I have never been all that into computer games. I mean, they were always there and I even wrote a couple (unpublished) for the TRS-80 in my teens. There were a few I played at coin arcades in the 80s. Later, I got really into a couple like Nethack and Civilization. I work with younger people (men and women) who are all a lot more into them than I am. Mostly I don’t have time.

    It’s not about masculinity, which has never been a concern of mine. What bothers me more is the diminished interest in offline puzzles like Rubik’s cube. I enjoy the ingenuity that goes into mechanical toys and puzzles. Computers suffer from the fact that they can do just about anything.

    That aside, Hawley is just full of shit. I mean, what else can I conclude? What’s happening is not a reaction of feminized boys, but the success of capitalism is marketing “stuff that people want.” He’s supposed to like capitalism, isn’t he? It would work for me too, but I’m kind of a minimalistic weirdo. My favorite “computer games” tend to be compilers and interpreters for programming languages. (And I have been getting into laser cuts lately, out of an atavistic attachment to physical objects.)

    Coincidentally, I have started the third book in Liu Cixin’s trilogy (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, better known by the first volume The Three-Body Problem.) Liu expresses the same idea that the future will result in feminization of men. He expresses it uncritically, but I suspect it’s a fear of his. It’s an old trope, and fairly meaningless since there are no universal gender roles either historically or across cultures.

  12. beholder says

    All you men out there who read this, and play games (OK, or watch porn, you don’t need to admit it): are you all just doing it because you’re oppressed and had your feelings hurt and don’t know what else to do while sitting around suffering with self-pity?

    Akira nailed the major points, but I’ll chime in. Being lonely isn’t quite as boring as it used to be decades ago, allegedly. Video games help with that. Porn is a necessary outlet — has been for way longer than video games were around, and I agree with Akira, it’s there because my ugliness breaks mirrors and no one else should have to put up with me.

    Shame about the lonely antifeminists out there, though. They don’t have a good excuse for their hate. It should be said, however, that getting married and living the American dream doesn’t stop plenty of people from being misogynistic assholes.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    …and game-playing requires the ability to focus for a long time.
    Which is why I don’t do it, I have other skills but I certainly do not look down on the gaming community.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Liu lives in a country where the infallible president Xi has started a campaign against public persons that don’t look “masculine” enough, they are not the role models Xi wants for the new generation
    (to use the 1930s slogan, “fast as greyhounds and hard as Krupp steel”)

  15. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Events like this are particularly hilarious because they show the internal contradictions of conservatism. First of all, their combination of patriarchal beliefs and sex phobia mean they will both criticize men for watching porn but also make excuses for it and say it’s not really that bad (and will do the same for something that is actually a serious problem, rape). Second, they will abandon personal responsibility at the drop of a hat, taking into account sociological influences (however fraudulent) on behavior when it comes to the powerful.

    Of course, even if there were some kind of behavioral problem with men, one would much more readily look for, say, socioeconomic explanations, than criticism of masculinity.

    They also a priori exclude the idea that these criticisms are beneficial and that video games and porn are a small price to pay for it.

  16. PaulBC says


    Being lonely isn’t quite as boring as it used to be decades ago, allegedly.

    Well, as Thoreau once said “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” We all have different needs, but the main thing I really find boring is being stuck with people I don’t want to be with. I am in fact capable of feeling lonely. It just takes a hell of a lot of solitude to get there.

    Anyway, networked games are a positive thing. I wish they weren’t so violent, but they serve the social needs of many people who would be a lot worse off without them. What does Hawley even know about any of this?

  17. says

    president Xi has started a campaign against public persons that don’t look “masculine” enough

    Is there a shortage of mirrors in China, or something? Because Xi needs to look in one.

  18. says

    Anyway, networked games are a positive thing. I wish they weren’t so violent

    The range of games that are available, now, really blows my mind. And they are not all violent. There are cooperative building games like Animal Crossing that have zillions of users and the focus is on exploring and building and doing maintenance tasks.

    Other games, like Subnautica or The Outer Wilds are about exploration and discovery, or exploration and research. (Does running away from giant lifeforms that might eat you constitute “violence”?)

  19. PaulBC says

    Marcus Ranum@22 How about, I wish the subset of games that are very violent weren’t so popular. That said, I can’t do anything about people’s preferences.

    I think from context, you cannot read anything I said as a criticism of networked games. (I also don’t have the time, or don’t choose to expend the time this way, but my son is into them.)

  20. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@17 Death’s End was published in 2010 (before Xi) and I haven’t made it far enough to see where Liu is going with this. One of the “hibernators” is confused that everyone looks like a woman until it’s explained to her that feminine aesthetic norms are now universal. It seems like a weirdly unnecessary side theme, but maybe there’s a point that will come out.

    Despite hearing good things about The Three-Body Problem, I am doing this more out of cultural interest than entertainment. He has some good ideas, mostly not new, but doesn’t seem to understand how to drive a novel through plot and dialogue instead of endless exposition (and I think I can reach this conclusion even from the fact that it’s a translation).

  21. garnetstar says

    If indeed “more and more” young men are disaffected or don’t have a clear purpose or goal, that some aspects of “manhood” (the toxic ones) have been criticized is not the reason.

    The reason is the massive switch to a service economy, in which more and more jobs are more meaningless. When men worked in the tire factory, at least at the end of the day they’d made something. It’s our coporate overlords who are responsible for this social shift.

    (Women have always been expected to put up with more meaningless jobs with a smile, so no one is moaning about that.)

  22. PaulBC says


    When men worked in the tire factory, at least at the end of the day they’d made something.

    Assembly-line work was also a big target of criticism at one point, since it focuses on a single task rather than a holistic product. I’m not sure the service economy can be blamed for making work meaningless. That’s at least as old as the industrial revolution, and probably a lot older than that.

    It’s funny that we associate stereotypical “masculine” work with arduous conditions when the uber-males have always led a cushy life whether they’re princes or senior VPs. It sounds like like someone is being solid a bill of goods here. (Also, many jobs traditionally done by women are also arduous.)

  23. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @23: They are very popular, but so are a lot of the less violent ones. I’d say that there has been a salutary opening of some themes and approaches to games.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    PaulBC # 24
    I got a similar impression, but as this is the first Chinese books I have read in translation I assumed much of this may be from the difficulties of translating nuances.
    Likewise when reading SF by Stanislaw Lem (from Poland) and the Strugatsky brothers (the Soviet Union) there is a translation step that may affect the content.
    Lem was born 1921 in the very Catholic Poland (he and his father were secular jews) so there is a bit of old-time misogyny here and there.
    As for the Strugatskys, they had to deal with a more pervasive censorship but I do not know how much it affected their writings.
    In the east, some of the values about gender were conservative even though the women were expected to work.

  25. PaulBC says

    Frederic Bourgault-Christie@18

    Events like this are particularly hilarious because they show the internal contradictions of conservatism.

    Yes. And it certainly makes me doubt the sincerity of their faith in the “free market” they want to entrust with education, environmental protection, and healthcare while they complain about video games and porn in which the free market is going gangbusters, doing exactly what it does best: delivering utility to consumers efficiently.

  26. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @30: Oh, that faith isn’t real. When I was in high school, I would try to point out to conservatives things like “Climate change is a national security threat”. The only maxim that conservatives actually operate by is “Fuck y’all, I’ve got mine”. There are rules for the marginalized and rules for those with power. The only question is how deep one has to scratch to get at those underlying views and how much liberal and left-wing ideas a conservative person happens to have picked up along the way by interrogating some of their beliefs and thinking with universalist moral reasoning or even basic empathy.

    So it’s not a contradiction to them that the free market should be entrusted with those things but not video games and porn. Video games and porn are an individual moral failing of the marginalized or deviant. They need to be policed. Once they are, the market will work magically. Yes, they are being internally inconsistent about the magic they think the market can perform, but notice that the only thing that they think the market can’t do is overcome sin.

  27. Susan Montgomery says

    @11 And give away the surprise?

    I’d played her games non-stop during the early-90s – before the internet was a thing – and was quite pleasantly surprised to find out she was trans.

  28. Rich Woods says

    are you all just doing it because you’re oppressed and had your feelings hurt and don’t know what else to do while sitting around suffering with self-pity?

    I’m doing it because I enjoy killing pixels and having a good wank. Other pastimes and pursuits still remain available.

  29. dali70 says

    While I enjoy playing video games to pass the time I generally steer clear of online multiplayer games for the same reasons I avoid social media. I find the endless abuse, misinformation and sheer stupidity of most users to be tedious and tiresome.
    If I’m feeling lonely, I’ll go out for a few drinks with friends then hit my studio and paint till I pass out, get the munchies or run out of coffee/weed/beer. I’m sure not going to look online for some anonymous superficial friendship/relationship. That’s a sure fire way to stay lonely.

  30. jrkrideau says

    “real men’

    Must have missed that growing up. Never occurred to us but we grew up on a farm where I, the boy, got a lot of the nasty jobs but in a pinch my sister was handed a pitch fork or spade. In an automotive emergency my usual order was “Go get your sister”.

  31. unclefrogy says

    besides the fact that “conservatives” like Hawley are mostly lying and manipulative there is always in their “great pronouncements” a fair amount of projection over 75% I am sure.
    The themes they pick and the way they portray them is all them.
    So it sounds like hawley feels is masculinity is constantly under attack and stance of “hyper-masculinity” is compensation for being “too feminized”. It is all someonelses fault not his and we should probably punish them (any them you want just not him he is not to blame for what he does clearly)

  32. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @37: Hey! Visual novels are not all about a good wank! Just… an uncomfortably high number of them, to the point that it actually worsens the genre!

    (For fun, you can guess which property I am a fan of whose visual novels are for a long time burdened with awful H-scenes for no good reason).

  33. PaulBC says

    Frederic Bourgault-Christie@31

    only thing that they think the market can’t do is overcome sin.

    It’s traditional to associate porn with sin, but what exactly is supposed to be wrong with video games? I mean, if you want to go really traditional, I guess they lead to trouble with a capital T just like pool halls and card games, but at their core, they’re no worse than any other type of game, and they usually don’t involve gambling for money either. They provide cost effective skill-based amusement, and it’s not all passive like TV.

    I do have specific caveats. I think games that include graphic violence are potentially desensitizing. I don’t want my kids playing them. Also, any game can be a huge time sink and can lead to problems keeping up with classes or work. But this is a problem of individual compulsive behavior, not the games as such.

  34. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @39: No, some of them are just about boring things. No wank to even start. (Sarcasm aside, visual novels have some great stuff in them, if you find the good ones).

    @40: Folk values are routinely dumb and inconsistent and arbitrary. One problem is that “It’s for kids” (read all the stories about entitled parents and choosing beggars insisting that people give away video game supplies, even gaming PCs, because “You’re an adult, you shouldn’t be playing anyways”). Putting aside the extreme anti-ludic bias that this shows, derived from Protestant values where we’re supposed to be good worker bees instead of actually living in the now and enjoying life (and ignoring all the ways that play are good for our productivity and mental well-being), it’s not even consistent, because nothing is wrong with going out and throwing the pigskin around at Thanksgiving, and nothing is wrong with watching muscle-headed goons beating the crap out of each other. The mainstream folk culture accepts physical but not electronic sports. That’ll change, but it’s a slow process.

    Moreover, video games have a lot of connotations to some people. There is an entire Satanic Panic subtext to Christian appropriation of concerns about video game addiction. The fundies obviously lost their shit about games like DOOM and Quake. It’s particularly funny because, unlike with Magic the Gathering where black decks really will play zombies and demons and stuff (though still not usually framed in the narrative as the good guys), no one can call DOOM a pro-demon game! ( . Because so many video games are about magic, and demons, and aliens, and all sorts of things that transgress, ignorant people who have no idea what video games are can think it’s all just violence.

    And, yeah, then real concerns about sexism and violence and militarism and stuff can be hijacked too. Yes, even by conservatives. Their internal inconsistency manifests as a truly bizarre rhetorical dance sometimes, where you’ll see the same person demonizing sex and violence in a video game and then screeching at the feminists for daring to take away the sex and violence.

    Also, you say “usually don’t involve gambling for money”, but I would say that while that’s narrowly true the loot box concerns are real enough to add onto that miasma.

    I’m curious what kind of research has been done on anti-video game attitudes, but if you Google “video games are sinful”, you will see a lot of thinkpieces on the topic, meaning that the question gets asked a lot. But I would say that the antipathy towards video games in this context isn’t the video games per se but the idea of basement saddos playing video games, the very sentiment that Milo deployed while still supposedly a Good GamerGaterTM, which contradicts Protestant work values and capitalist commodification of our time.

  35. DanDare says

    I play computer games, board games and role playing games a lot. Its a wsay to learn, to have intellectual focus and socialise.
    I do porn. Its a good outlet for a sixty year old with no forseable sex opportunities. But even when I was young it was enjoyable, especially the porn my girlfriends liked and shared with me.

  36. Rich Woods says

    @Susan #37:

    Ha! Perhaps I wasn’t clear and may have left open the implication that one interest depended upon the other.

    But no, from what little I’ve seen I don’t find much appeal of any sort in anime. Maybe I’ve just had the wrong graphic novels recommended to me.

  37. aarondeemer says

    Just want to put in my 2cp for games as interactive art. Most games are crappy corporate art, but then most movies aren’t Citizen Kane, are they? Currently playing a game that explores the depression spiral of a Sonic-The-Hedgehog-like character after his franchise is purchased by a low quality developer and he’s drowned in negative steam reviews (his equivalent of a barrage of negative social media feedback)

    As for porn, I acknowledge that I enjoy it at times (admission connotes guilt). Doesn’t stop me and my husband (plot twist) from having a full sex life together

  38. garnetstar says

    Paul BC @26, yes, assemby line work has always had a dehumanizing aspect.

    I just grew up in a town where every adult male worked all his life in the tire factories. And, they didn’t have this drifting, etc. Perhaps it was because it was a unioin job that paid well enough that everyone could own a small house and live in frugal comfort, though not with the middle-class luxuries of today. And raise kids, who were more affordable than they are now. There was stability, no housing or food insecurity, and the public schools actually gave a good education.

    So, perhaps that’s it! Again, the corporate overlords are still to blame.

  39. Howard Brazee says

    The various far rights in history around the world have always been about how bad everybody else is.

    Part of that is that their “good” is so nebulous that we really don’t know what it is. As in: What criteria should we use to determine when America Was Great so we will know when America Is Great Again?

    I haven’t seen a depiction of Heaven that is attractive for eternity. Maybe it’s a heroin high. But Hell, that’s much easier to describe.

  40. answersingenitals says

    I think Josh Hawley is being completely misunderstood here. I think he’s saying that men who watch porn, I.e., who watch porn stars having sex, are just effeminate losers, while the type of men he worships are the ones who have sex with porn stars and who are thus very masculine in his view.

  41. rietpluim says

    Some news I’d like to share with you: a bank named Bunq denied their services to Stichting Voorzij (For She Foundation), a notorious TERF organization, for discrimination of trans women.

  42. Susan Montgomery says

    @38. I tease ;) I’ve found them rather dull. I much prefer the “Yakuza” series.

  43. Susan Montgomery says

    @46. I met her only through playing Command HQ and Global Conquest obsessively during the very early 90s.

    @47 just a little joke. I do more than just complain about hippies, yanno…

  44. davidc1 says

    @17 “Fast as greyhounds and hard as Krupp steel”. But thick as shit .
    I read in a book about The nazi period that some members of the SA
    were thicker than a very thick thing .